Billionaire South African Patrice Motsepe has been confirmed as the first personality from English speaking part of the continent to be elected president of the Confederation of African Football (CAF).
Motsepe, whose candidacy was announced by the SA Football Association (SAFA) in November, stood unopposed at CAF’s 43rd General Assembly in Rabat, Morocco, on Friday. He will serve a four-year term until the next elective congress in 2025.
Motsepe’s predecessor, Ahmad Ahmad of Madagascar, unseated the 29-year reign of Cameroonian Issa Hayatou in 2017, but was banned from football for five years by FIFA for ethics violations in 2020.
The punishment has been reduced to three years by the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS).
The election of the South African followed after a deal was concluded over the past month that saw Motsepe’s rivals – Senegal’s Augustin Senghor‚ Mauritanian Ahmed Yahya and Jacques Anouma of Ivory Coast – withdraw their candidacies in exchange for leadership and executive positions.
Senghor and Yahya have been offered vice-presidencies‚ and Anouma an advisory role.
Even Nigeria’s Amaju Pinnick was amongst the earlier would-be contestants for the CAF job that shelved their ambitions for Motshepe.
Motsepe began his campaign as the least favourite among the candidates, as an outsider and unknown in CAF’s political landscape.
Campaigning by Motsepe and SAFA President Danny Jordaan took them to Cameroon, Morocco, Egypt and Qatar, meeting countless African football association heads.
These trips coincided with events such as the African Nations Championship (CHAN), a CAF executive meeting, the CAF Champions League final and the FIFA Club World Cup, which were attended by FA presidents.
Motsepe appeared to have the backing as a block of 13 of the 14 COSAFA (Council of Southern Africa Football Associations) member associations, much of CECAFA Council for East and Central Africa Football Associations), and West Africa was seemingly split.
That would have been enough to push him past the 27-vote threshold of CAF’s 54-member associations. This led to the deal with Senghor, Yahya and Anouma, Jordaan has said.
Billionaire mining magnate Motsepe will step down as president of Mamelodi Sudowns for the duration of his CAF presidency.
He has indicated that his oldest son Tlhopie Motsepe will become chairman in his absence.
Patrice Motsepe’s wife‚ Precious Moloi-Motsepe‚ and other two sons‚ Kgosi and Kabelo‚ will apparently have advisory roles supporting Thlopie as head of Sundowns.